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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

August 2012 Pulisher's Letter

Jul 31, 2012 07:37PM

It’s been a while since I’ve had kids gathering around the table for three meals a day, depending on me to provide nutritious sustenance for their growing bodies. My 29-year-old daughter, Alina, still remembers the seemingly bottomless bag of brown rice in the pantry, jars of sprouting seeds lining the counter and a parade of strange health foods introduced at mealtime to expand family palettes. Today, I’m thrilled to see her bring the same health-consciousness to her own Colorado kitchen.

Her older brother, Ziven, loved concocting magical soups. From the time he could reach the counter standing on a chair, we’d find him conveying everything that might taste good from the fridge to the pot.

Luckily, their father loved unleashing his creativity in the kitchen, too, and preferred our natural food diet to his childhood family’s traditional Polish fare. Meal times served as a shared daily adventure that brought us together.

This month’s feature story, “Healthy Eating, Family-Style,” warns us that the sit-down family meal is on the endangered list (on page 34). Studies remind us of its myriad benefits, from improving nutrition and curbing obesity to sparking meaningful communication. Breaking bread together connects us, and humans seem hard-wired to share meals and conversation with each other. One of my favorite things to do is to invite friends into my home and serve them one of my favorite dishes, because it bonds us on a more intimate level.

Long, more carefree summer days are perfect for hosting backyard barbeques, neighborhood potlucks or spontaneous, sunset picnics. Don’t make it complicated… just do it now, because summer doesn’t last forever.

Recognizing that many families are preparing for their kids to head back to school this month, our annual Family Health edition includes ways to help you kick-start the new school year in fine form—beyond what we’re serving up for meals and snacks. On page 32, Editor Linda Sechrist interviews local natural health practitioners for advice on “Natural Therapies for Keeping Kids Healthy.” Kathleen Barnes interviews national experts for even more strategies aimed at “Improving Immunity” throughout the school year.

Some friends have confided their concerns over the pressures their kids feel because of the achievement-obsessed culture of constant testing that permeates our schools. Wendy Mogel, Ph.D., author of The Blessings of a B Minus, sheds some light on the unhealthy toll that overscheduling and expectations of perfection are taking, and how parents can help (page 40). I’m also glad for the Renaissance Academy’s example of a more holistic approach to learning,

As Natural Awakenings contributors have been teaching for years, balance is key to a happier life. I like to quickly rebalance with a bit of nature therapy at the end of the day, kicking off my shoes for a sunset beach walk. Recent studies confirm how “Barefoootin’ It Grounds Us” and reboots our health, as Debra Melani explains.

I’m convinced that summer sunsets are more spectacular than any other time of the year, so kick off your shoes, too, and make the most of them. Maybe you’ll even catch a green flash!

Happy summering,




Sharon Bruckman

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